2018-08-16 16:17:00 CET
After three straight losses, Agatha and Duda take Sarah and Melissa down in Hamburg
When the draw for the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals Hamburg 2018 presented by Vodafone was concluded, Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa knew they would have yet another chance to put an end to their recent uncomfortable record against Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes.
Two of the top teams competing in the World Tour, the Brazilians and the Canadians had met five times since 2017 with the North Americans winning three of them. That could be considered a normal record, except for the fact that they got all three victories in the most recent matches, sustaining a 14-month long winless streak over the Brazilians.
That came to an end on Thursday, as Agatha and Duda posted a 2-0 (21-19, 21-15) victory and felt the taste of prevailing over their rivals for the first time since a bronze medal match triumph in the Hague in June 2017.
“It definitely stayed in our minds and certainly increased our desire to beat them,” Agatha revealed after the game. “We don’t play them that often but our last victory had been over a year ago, so it’s something that just kept bothering us.”
To turn things around, the Brazilians made a strategy change, sending more of their serves towards Pavan as opposed to their most common tactics of targeting Melissa.
“It’s always a tough game for us,” Duda explained. “We tried a different strategy and were more aggressive with our serving and that helped us a lot. It’s great that we had this good start and we hope we can keep the same mental strength and the same consistency during the next days.”
To Agatha, though, Duda’s performance was the real difference. Her 20-year-old partner scored five aces and was as steady as it gets when siding out.
“We did some different stuff today from a strategic standpoint but I think the key for our victory was Duda,” the Rio 2016 Olympic medalist remarked. “She played amazingly and scored a handful of serving points, which allowed me to be more relaxed to side out.”
With two victories in as many matches, the Brazilians play Australia’s Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy on Friday. Pavan and Humana-Paredes will decide their fate in the tournament on the same day, when they play their final pool matches, against Czech Republic’s Markéta Sluková/Barbora Hermannová and Germany’s Victoria Bieneck/Isabel Schneider.
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